7 Jan – Anyone on social media would today notice the usage of hashtag #netflixeverywhere, well, everywhere.
Netflix, the U.S.-based provider of on-demand Internet streaming media, has announced that it has now launched its service in more than 130 new countries, including Malaysia and Singapore.
"Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network," said co-founder and Chief Executive Reed Hastings in a press statement.
"With this launch, consumers around the world -- from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo -- will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously -- no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers' hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device."
From RM33 per month in Malaysia and SGD10.98 in Singapore, members will get to enjoy Netflix original series such as "Marco Polo", "Narcos", "Marvel's Jessica Jones", "Marvel's Daredevil", "Sense8" and more.
This year, watch out for more as the company plans to release 31 new and returning original series, two dozen original movies and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids series.
All of this will be made available to members everywhere at the same time.
While there has been word around town last year of Netflix launching in Singapore by early this month, there hasn't really been any talk of it coming into Malaysia.
While this is definitely a welcome surprise for local fans, this also means Malaysia-based iflix is now up for some stiff competition.
When asked by Cinema Online whether this would affect iflix, Catcha Group's Director of Corporate Communications Peggy Lee replied, "The announcement by Netflix is great news from an industry perspective. It reaffirms that the shift in entertainment consumption to on demand is a global phenomenon."
"For consumers, it is great that at least a subset of the Netflix branded content is now legally available without a VPN.
"From an iflix perspective, we are obsessively focused on the unique challenges of emerging markets whether it be pricing, payments, infrastructure challenges, cultural preferences, or local programming and language.
"We will continue to provide the broadest most relevant selection of content for the local consumers at a price that everyone can afford," Lee added.
iflix aims to compete with the U.S.-based provider by focusing more on Asian content like Korean dramas and local content.
However, with Netflix now available locally, there is the possibility of viewers turning away from providers such as the direct broadcast satellite pay TV service, Astro, in favour of internet streaming, where all the latest English shows are instantly available the same day its released and easier to access at any time.
To earn itself this opportunity while setting itself apart from Netflix, iflix just may have to turn toward more original localised content, similar to what HBO Asia is doing with its own original program, "Halfworlds".
iflix is an internet TV service that was started in May last year, and is currently available in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. Members are be able to watch 10,000 hours of content ranging from movies to TV series and shows all from the price of RM8 per month.
The company will be announcing several updates in the near future, "related to new markets, new partners, new and original content, and much more."